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Former Oban professional squash player Martin Heath is back helping the national cause – this time as a coach of the Scotland elite performance squad.
Heath, who represented Scotland and got as high as world ranked number four in his playing days, has carved a successful career as a squash coach around the globe since retiring from professional squash in 2003 and now combines his role with Scottish Squash with his duties as head coach of the University of Rochester in New York.
He has enjoyed previous stints as coach of the US junior team and under-23 team as well as the Chinese senior team but his latest national coaching position has allowed him time to return to Scotland on a regular basis and visit friends and family in Oban.
Now 44, Heath said: ‘I try to get back to Oban as often as I can to see mum and dad and friends. It’s where I was brought up and I still miss it. I now live out in Toronto where I met my wife. It was one of my neighbours in Oban who persuaded me to go out there towards the end of my playing days.
‘My brother was also coaching at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and I used to go and help him with coaching.
‘I quickly settled in Toronto and I was able to combine coaching with studying at the University of Rochester.
‘I just loved the coaching, became successful in the college coaching job and it became my passion.
‘It’s a lot of fun. I am now head coach at the University of Rochester and recently turned a bunch of tennis players into squash players and they became number one, beating all the other teams we play against.’
Heath joined the Scotland coaching set-up as elite performance coach last year alongside national coach Paul Bell and one of their first major success stories was helping Inverness pair Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban become world champions at the world doubles squash championships in Darwin, Australia, last summer.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, is a big focus for Heath and his squad but later next week they travel to Helsinki for the European team championships beginning on April 26.
Heath continued: ‘I really enjoy being back part of the Scotland set-up and it works well with Paul [Bell] based at the Oriam Performance Centre in Edinburgh where the elite squad train.
‘I use my knowledge and experience to direct the programme and Paul disperses that knowledge through the new programme we have set up.
‘I can watch the players on Squash TV, communicate regularly with them during matches before getting together with them at training camps and team events.
‘I can also see the players in action when they are playing in America and they pop in and see me at Rochester.
‘It’s working well and it’s an exciting time to be involved in Scotland with some real talent in the men’s and women’s game.
‘But we have much work to do before the Commonwealth Games next year.’